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ARTICLE 19 in landmark open justice and right to know case

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - 9 October 2009 - ARTICLE 19 is part of a landmark case involving the principle of open justice and the right to know. The case is the very first in the newly established Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

ARTICLE 19 has applied with other leading media and civil liberties organisations for identification of the appellants in the case Her Majesty's Treasury (Respondents) v A (FC) and others (FC) (Appellants) and others.

Identification and publicity would benefit the appellants, as the media would be able to report the human-interest dimensions of the case. Identification is also in the public interest, as the case will show the effects of Anti-Terrorism Orders upon individuals and their family members.

Only Mohammed Al-Ghabra's name has so far been identified, previously known as G, on the grounds that his identity is already in the public domain. The Court ran out of time and has not decided whether the identities of 'A', 'K' and 'M' will be publicised.

The case is considering whether measures contained in the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2006 and the Al-Qaida and Taliban (United Nations Measures) Order 2006 were unlawful. Under the orders, said to give effect to UN resolutions, the Treasury may freeze assets of people and their families who "may be" suspected of financing terrorism. The measures are being scrutinised in court because they were made without express authorisation by Parliament.

From 1 October 2009, the Supreme Court has assumed the jurisdiction of the current Appellate Committee of the House of Lords and the devolution jurisdiction of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

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